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Geise presents IDA’s 2019 ‘report card’

Photo by Dennis Phillips Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency officials, state Sen. George Borrello, Stannard Group officials, Ellicott Town Supervisor Pat McLaughlin and the Weaver family during the ceremonial ground breaking in September at the new site of the Stannard Group in the Mason Industrial Park in Ellicott.

Almost 200 new jobs and more than 650 were retained in Chautauqua County because of work done by the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency to assist local businesses in 2019.

On Tuesday, Mark Geise, IDA CEO, presented a year-end “Report Card” to the IDA board of work done last year. Geise discussed several projects that in total lead to $155 million in private investment, created 190 jobs, and retained 653 jobs. Some of the projects he discussed assisted county companies and businesses like DFT, Silver Creek Solar, Lawson Boat and Motor, Growers Co-Operative Grape Juice Company, The Stannard Group, Wells Enterprise, S. St. George Enterprises, Graham’s Market and Inscape.

“The county and IDA team have been working persistently for almost two years to move these and many other projects forward, and we will continue to advance them until they are completed,” Geise said. “I am excited and proud of the work the IDA and county economic development team are doing, which goes well beyond a transactional approach to economic development — it involves planning and strategizing five to 10 years in the future. We are looking at our assets and opportunities, evaluating trends and challenges, and pursuing those initiatives that we believe will have the greatest impact and the greatest chance of success.”

Geise provided a brief overview of some of the projects the IDA board approved incentives or loans for during 2019.

The DFT rural broadband project was for $5,343,170 and extend broadband internet within the city of Dunkirk; the towns of Arkwright, Charlotte, Chautauqua, Pomfret, Sheridan, and Stockton; and the village of Cassadaga.

The Silver Creek Solar project totaled a $6,950,000 investment to install a 5 megawatt solar array electric generation facility in the town of Sheridan on a 40 acre parcel.

The Lawson Boat and Motor project was for $1,667,990 to renovate/reconstruction a full service marina in the city of Jamestown and town of Ellicott on the Chadakoin River. The Growers Co-Operative Grape Juice Company project totaled $3,470,000 to install bulk storage tanks and ancillary equipment.

The Stannard Group project was for $2,698,518 to construction of new building to serve as logistics operation on approximately 5.5 acres located in the Mason Industrial Park in the town of Ellicott. Geise said this was the first new build at a county industrial development park in five years. He also said that, with the IDA’s assistance, the company stayed in Chautauqua County instead of possibly moving to Pennsylvania.

The Wells Enterprise project totaled $89 million to make major improvements and upgrades to the former Fieldbrook Foods ice cream manufacturing facility in Dunkirk. The improvements will include renovations, the acquisition of land, the purchase of new equipment and major electrical upgrades. The S. St. George Enterprise project was for $765,000 to construct a new heavy equipment storage facility at its existing site in the town of Pomfret.

The Graham’s Market project totaled $268,600, with the IDA providing working capital for a new grocery store in the village of Sherman, which is considered a food desert. The Inscape Consent Resolution project totaled $2,650,000 for the acquisition and upgrades to an existing metal fabrication business in the town of Ellicott.

“The proactive economic development initiatives being undertaken by the county and IDA are important projects for the future of our county,” said County Executive PJ Wendel. “It demonstrates the proactive, collaborative and comprehensive approach we are taking as it pertains to the needs of our businesses and the public in general, including the tourism and agricultural sectors. I vow to continue to support these and other innovative projects to keep the County moving forward.”

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